Tuesday, December 1, 2009


WHEW! Where has this year gone? Last time I wrote on this BLOG, the book was finished writing and going into print. Now we have several thousand copies of Splendid Isolation, and more book events to attend than I can count on all toes and fingers. Hallelujah! It’s all wonderful!

I’ve thanked many of the people who helped me throughout the process of book writing and editing, but I’ve failed to thank those of you who have supported me as family, friends and fellow readers. It warms my heart to see that you care about me, my characters and this awesome island, Jekyll. So many of you have stopped what you were doing to let me know that. The words “thank you” seem so insipid, but I cannot find a better way to truly express my gratitude. Just know that you are appreciated.

Great things are happening to us and the book! We’ve been on television and in newspapers already, attended two HUGE book signings (we’re doing pre-release sales in our neck of the woods as the book is a 2010 release nationwide). We’ve also brought on board Mr. Albert Carter from the College of Coastal Georgia, whose initiative and technical skills are broadly expanding our horizons!

We’re definitely feeling the Christmas spirit as we sign at Christmas shows and holiday events. Check our calendar for events near you. Praise God for all these blessings!

Please follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. We would love you to become fans as well! Also, you can check out our activities on BookTour.com.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions and work with you in this intriguing world of writing and publishing. Our virtual door is always open!

Have a very merry Christmas, peaceful holiday season and a blessed New Year.

Warmest Blessings,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book is written!


Just as I’m finishing up another book (#8), we receive the glorious news that our last book, Aloha Crossing, handed me the title of the 2009 Georgia of the Year for Middle Readers! As if that were not enough to send us over the moon, that same week we were notified by the Independent Publisher Book Awards that Aloha Crossing won the Gold medal for the Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction category. You can imagine our joy and delight at that news!

As all writers know, there’s a long lonely trail from writing at home to picking up your book in a store. And it’s a hard, stressed and often crazy journey to reach the end, but we all know it’s worth the pain.

Splendid Isolation: The Jekyll Island Millionaires’ Club, 1888-1942 is nearing the end of her gestation period and will soon be born. Like those before her, she will consume my energy and a huge part of my time for the next year or so. She will also be my most beloved for a short while. Her seven siblings understand, because they too, experienced all of this with me.

I want to share another passage of this book with you, hoping to animate my readers and give you something to look forward to.

Anyone approaching the island from the river is greeted by thousands of Spanish moss-draped ancient oak trees competing for space with the palmettos and magnolia trees. After the blinding light and heat of the coastal plain, it’s like waking up in another world. The circular turret of the imposing Club House, lit so that its cream brick glows against the dusk, is topped by a slip of a flag that ripples in the wind. Behind it, a picturesque windmill water tower rises before the dense pine forest. My eyes sweep over the dark brown shades of the monstrous old live oaks and their silvery curtains of moss. In the background I see some of the island’s seasonal mansions, referred to as “cottages” by their owners, and their perfect dark green velvet lawns. Colored men searching for oysters stand waist-high in the river as we draw near the dock. I even see two brilliant cardinals flying overhead!

We’ve arrived at this magical little island they call Jekyl – a most delightful spot, with a diversified beauty of trees and beaches. It is quite unlike any other place I’ve seen; a tiny paradise, I should think.

A fairy scene opens out in wide prospect beyond. The foreground, south, west and north is one mass of verdure wall, dotted with semi-tropical plants and flowers. On the Atlantic side, the island is blessed with miles of wide, gently sloping white beaches. The grey-blue Atlantic Ocean glitters under the high sun, as if sprinkled with diamond dust. The very hard packed sand invites the islanders to bicycle and ride horses and drive automobiles over them.

Stay cool, enjoy summer, and stay tuned for the September BLOG.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Whew! I’ve finished the book on Jekyll Island: Splendid Isolation! At least the first draft, which is now in the hands of my editor. That has kept me so busy I’ve neglected my BLOGS, for which I apologize.

So, rather than asking questions about the Gilded Age, Great Depression, etc. to my BLOG readers, I would like to share with you a small section of the Jekyll Island story. Hopefully, this will whet your appetite for the book to come!

None of the Millionaires escaped the scathing editorials in Mr. Pulitzer’s newspapers, and all reluctantly admitted that there was some truth to them. Nevertheless, they respected Mr. Pulitzer’s keen mind and even more, his integrity. Joseph Pulitzer also provided entertaining comments at any social event, and was known to be charming if he wanted to be. Club President Lanier decided to seat him next to the guest of honor, Andrew Carnegie.

“Are you enjoying your stay at the Dungeness with Miss Lucy?” asked Mr. Pulitzer, gingerly spooning small portions of steaming squash soup into his mouth. He had heard occasional rumors from other members that Andrew Carnegie and his sister-in-law Lucy did not get on very well.

“Not particularly Sir,” Andrew replied with a grin and a shrug. “Print that if you like.”

“Not a bad idea.” Mr. Pulitzer offered him a sly smile. “This seems to be a slow news week. Perhaps I’ll send it out tomorrow.” Across the dark dinner table he could feel rather than see the frown on Mr. J.P. Morgan’s face.

During the third course of the dinner, Joseph Pulitzer posed another question.
“Andrew, we’re about the same age, more or less. I believe we have some commonalities in our backgrounds as well. Weren’t you born in Europe and emigrated to America at a young age?”

Mr. Carnegie contemplated him for a long moment. He knew that Joseph Pulitzer did his homework and seldom made polite conversation.

“I came over with my Scottish family when I was thirteen, and got my first job working in a textile mill that same year,” he replied, swirling brandy in his amber Belgium snifter.

“I see. And I was an impoverished seventeen-year-old Jewish boy in Hungary when my family sailed for America.” Mr. Pulitzer rubbed his long fingers over his eyes. “Even then, I had poor health and eyesight, and the Austrian Army wouldn’t take me.”

Andrew Carnegie placed his hand on Joseph Pulitzer’s arm. “And now we’ve both made more money than we can ever spend. And all we can do is give it to the less fortunate,” he whispered reflectively. “I pray that’s enough.”

Neither man spoke for several moments. Leaning down to retrieve his linen serviette, Mr. Pulitzer asked casually, “Tell me something, Andrew. Did your brother Thomas and Lucy build Dungeness over at Cumberland Island because the Millionaires Club didn’t invite the two of you to join?”

Mr. Carnegie whirled around to stare at Mr. Pulitzer. Then his face softened and he threw his head back and roared.

“You old coot! You know very well they had already begun construction on Dungeness several years before your Millionaires Club came into being!”

Joseph Pulitzer grinned, his blue eyes sparkling with mischief. “So true. And by the by, they only asked me to join them so they could keep their enemy close. And even with that, they’ve not been able to quash the truths I publish about them in The World.” He lowered his voice and leaned forward to whisper in Mr. Carnegie’s ear. “I don’t think Jay Gould has ever forgiven me for buying his paper out from under him and then turning it into a big money-maker.”

Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January/February 2009

At the beginning of each new year, many of us like to reflect on what we accomplished last year and project our goals for the upcoming one. I’ve made just one resolution: to complete the writing of the Jekyll Island Millionaires Club story!

You may have discovered in my past BLOGS that Joseph Pulitzer is one of my “favorite” Millionaires. His “rags to riches” life story is compelling. Yet I consider his philanthropic tendencies to champion worthy causes praiseworthy.

Joseph Pulitzer, one of the original members of the Jekyll Island Club, was a Hungarian immigrant who fought in the Civil War and became a successful American journalist. In 1883 he bought a financial newspaper called the World; he already owned the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A staunch Democrat who vehemently opposed the “aristocracy of wealth” in the pages of his liberal newspapers, he must have greatly annoyed his fellow Millionaires with his accusatory tirades.

When France offered to gift The Statue of Liberty to America, a pedestal fund campaign was launched to build a base in the New York Harbor. After several years of fund-raising, only $182,491 had been collected and $179,624 had been spent. Enter Joseph Pulitzer and the power of his newspapers!

He conducted a whirlwind public subscription to raise the rest of the funds. He asked his fellow Jekyll Island Club members to help out, and was furious with their responses. Pierre Lorillard gave $1000. A few others donated much less.

So he reached out to the ordinary people, setting the goal of the World at $100,000. He taunted the rich (thereby increasing the paper’s appeal among working-class people) and promised to publish the name of every single contributor, no matter how small the contribution. He wrote:

“It would be an irrevocable disgrace to New York City and the American Republic to have France send us this splendid gift without our having provided even so much as a landing place for it…we must raise the money. The $250,000 that the statue cost was paid by the masses of French people—by the working men, the tradesmen, the shop girls, the artisans. Let us not wait for the millionaires to give this money. It is not a gift from the millionaires of France to the millionaires of American, but a gift of the whole country of France to the whole American people. Give something, however little. Let us hear from the people!”

The campaign took on the character of a popular crusade. The press of many other cities rallied to the cause and contributions came from as far away as California, Colorado, Florida and Louisiana. By August 11, less than 5 months after it had launched its latest fund drive, the World announced that the pedestal fund had been completed, and the placing of the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe’s Island was assured.

The Statue of Liberty arrived at New York Harbor on June 19, 1885. Joseph Pulitzer met his goal.